President Joe Biden announced Monday that the administration plans to ship an additional 20 million vaccines overseas by the end of June.
Biden previously promised to send 60 million AstraZeneca doses to other countries. With Monday’s announcement, the U.S. will be sending 80 million American-approved vaccine doses overseas, Bloomberg reported. (RELATED: Biden Administration Mulls Sharing US Vaccine Supply With North Korea: Report)
White House press secretary Jen Psaki touted the administration’s plan during Monday’s press conference.
“This is the most doses donated by any country in the world by five times,” according to Psaki, who added that the AstraZeneca doses must first pass FDA approval. “This will put 80 million doses out into the world by the end of June.”
It’s not immediately clear which countries will receive vaccines from the U.S. Psaki told reporters Monday that the administration plans to announce its guidance on this in the next few days. The president also announced that White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients will serve as the administration’s lead on overcoming COVID-19 from a global standpoint, as Bloomberg reported earlier in the day.
Biden said during remarks Monday that pandemic cases are down in every state for the first time since COVID-19 began. He urged those who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated to get the shot and warned that the progress could be “reversed” if not.
The president also explained that issues in other countries can ultimately affect America. He called the move to help other countries “the right thing to do” and reiterated that “all” AstraZeneca shots will be sent overseas after approval. The president said ultimately the vaccines sent abroad will represent 13% of the doses made in the U.S.
“You know there’s a lot of talk about Russia and China influence in the world with vaccines,” Biden said. “We want to lead the world with our values, with this demonstration of our innovation and ingenuity and the fundamental decency, the American people … Our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world.”